Webinar: The future of enterprise IT

Contact: Brenon Daly

In this era of disruptive technologies, what does the future hold for enterprise IT? What new innovations are expected to reshape software, networking and even the datacenter itself in the coming year? For a look ahead, join us for a special webinar on Thursday, February 9 at 9:00am PST/12:00pm EST. (Click here to register.) The heads of several practice areas at 451 Research will highlight a number of key trends in their sectors, and what impact that will have on the broader IT landscape.

Topics we will cover in the hour-long webinar include the emergence of truly virtualized infrastructure, the rise of software-defined networks and the trend toward modularity inside the new datacenters. We will also cover some of the financial implications of those trends, both in terms of capital raising and M&A valuations. To join the webinar on Thursday, simply register here.

Terremark triples under Verizon

Just seven months after Terremark Worldwide was officially absorbed by Verizon Communications, the business has more than tripled its size as Terremark has become the telecom giant’s main services brand. At the time of the acquisition, which was announced in late January and closed in early April, Terremark was generating about $400m in sales. (Colocation services account for the vast majority of that revenue, with cloud offerings a small – but much more important and valuable – slice of the business.) The business is now running at $1.4bn, according to Bill Lowry, Terremark’s VP for Cloud Services.

Speaking at a Monday evening keynote at the Cloud Expo, Lowry added that the growth is coming both from the expansion of Terremark’s traditional business as well as Verizon’s decision to roll its services businesses into Terremark. (The ‘reverse integration’ makes sense to us because Terremark has much more enterprise credentials than Verizon, which we recently noted.) That means, for instance, that the managed security services provider business, which Verizon obtained via its May 2007 purchase of Cybertrust, is now part of Terremark. Verizon also transferred over to Terremark some 450 professional services employees, part of a broader buildup that has tripled Terremark’s headcount from 1,000 at the time of the acquisition to some 3,000 now.

Confab-ulous M&A at two cloud companies

Contact: Brenon Daly

Two of the most richly valued tech companies are each hosting annual get-togethers this week, and M&A is figuring into both of the confabs. VMware opened VMworld in Las Vegas on Monday, while saleforce.com followed a day later with Dreamforce in San Francisco. As these companies were getting ready to open the doors for the event, both announced that they had done acquisitions – with both deals coming in the security market.

VMware reached for PacketMotion, a startup that was able to capture who’s doing what on a network and whether they should be doing that at all. VMware indicated that the acquisition should allow its customers to automate security and compliance policies. For its part, salesforce.com added encryption vendor Navajo Systems. While terms weren’t announced on either transaction, we suspect that the price tags for both startups were in the low tens of millions of dollars. On the other side, we’d note that, collectively, VMware and saleforce.com are valued at north of $50bn.

Part of the tremendously rich valuation that both VMware and salesforce.com enjoy can be chalked up to the fact that each company is the sort of corporate representation for two key components of the whole cloud computing model: VMware for virtualization and salesforce.com for on-demand delivery of software and, more recently, infrastructure.

So it’s no surprise that these cloud stalwarts both recognized the need to shore up their cloud offerings by going out and buying security startups. After all, security remains probably the most important concern for broader adoption of cloud computing. In a recent survey, our sister organization ChangeWave Research asked both IT purchasers and users at companies to rate the security of current cloud offerings on a scale of 1 (very unsecure) to 10 (very secure). The median response was a distinctly middling 5.6. As a point of reference, the rating for cloud security was actually lower than the median rating for the reliability of cloud offerings, even after several high-profile outages at Amazon Web Services so far this year.

Apple drops interest in Dropbox for iCloud

by Brenon Daly

Earlier this year, rumors were flying that Apple was putting together a bid – valued at more than $500m – for cloud storage startup Dropbox. That speculation obviously didn’t go anywhere, but it looked a whole lot more credible in light of Monday’s introduction of Apple’s online storage and synching offering, iCloud. The service, which will be free for up to 5GB, will be available in the fall.

On the face of it, Apple’s new service looks mostly like a convenient and efficient way to move iTunes into the cloud. Viewed in that rather limited way, iCloud appears to compete most directly with Google and Amazon, which have both launched online music storage offerings in recent weeks. But as is the case with most of what Apple does, there’s much more going on.

In addition to automatically storing and synching media files such as music, photos and movies, iCloud will keep up-to-date documents as well as presentation and other files. In other words, the uses for iCloud are pretty much exactly the same reasons why some 25 million people also use Dropbox. Is this yet another case of a Silicon Valley giant initially looking to buy but then opting instead to build?

A four-bagger for VMware

Contact: Brenon Daly

If the virtualization thing doesn’t work out for VMware, the company could always spin off a hedge fund. At least that’s what we’ve been thinking as Verizon Communications’ purchase of Terremark Worldwide appears set to close very soon. When the deal does wrap, VMware will walk away with a tidy windfall from a savvy bet that the virtualization kingpin made on the hosting provider back in mid-2009.

Recall that in May 2009, VMware picked up a 5% stake in Terremark for $20m, paying just $5 for each of the four million shares. According to terms, that block of equity will be worth $76m when it comes time to cash out to Verizon, which is paying $19 for each Terremark share. A four-bagger in just a year and a half is a return that might even make John Paulson envious. The gain on VMware’s investment in Terremark even outpaces the return of its own highflying stock, which has ‘only’ tripled in that time.